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meningitis & septicaemia can kill in hours!

People who are faced with meningitis and septicaemia have to act fast to help save a life.

Courtney Edwards

Meningococcal disease at 17 months

Meningococcal disease

My little boy Courtney was 17 months old, an only child and very much loved. He fell ill one evening vomiting his milk, and had a high temperature. We called our emergency GP who asked whether he had a rash anywhere, and he didn't.

We were told to keep him cool and administer Nurofen as it sounded like he had a viral infection. We did that over night and by morning he was still not well. I rang the GP and got an appointment at 11.45am; his Dad was going to take him to as I was due at work.

On changing his nappy before getting in the car for work I noticed a small purple mark on his groin which wasn’t there on the last nappy change. I checked him for any other marks – there were none, so to this day I cannot say why but I rang up work said I would be in after I had been to A&E. I got in the car and drove to A&E – I never waited for the doctor’s appointment.

On admission he was taken straight into a room and before your eyes these purple marks appeared all over his body, legs, arms and face. We were pushed aside while he had lines put in his hands and feet ready for transfer to the nearest hospital for a lumbar puncture.

An hour later we were there and they suspected he had meningitis. We waited for the results to come back which confirmed this – he had meningococcal septicaemia.

By lunch time he was ventilated and not breathing by himself, he was deteriorating very badly throughout the day. At 5.20pm his heart stopped for 23 minutes; a beat returned with a shot of adrenalin into his foot. Shortly afterwards we were told he was dying so called our parents to the hospital.

He got transferred again to another hospital later on in the evening and was on life support machines for just over two weeks, had a CT scan and MRI scan which showed grey matter and the future looked very bleak.

After the fortnight he turned a corner and started taking short breaths on his own so the breathing machine was gradually turned down and again we transferred to another hospital.

After nearly a month he had amputations to both lower limbs, a lot of skin grafts and finger tip self amputations. Four months later we were finally allowed to take him home.

He’s eight this year (2010); he doesn’t walk but has come on in leaps and bounds over the years, is in mainstream school with a one-to-one and is a very happy true inspiration to other parents and children who have suffered this nasty disease.

KERRY O’CONNOR
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